What's the best way to pay?

The easiest way to pay for your travel is to pay as you go using contactless or Oyster. For most customers, pay as you go is best for value, flexibility and convenience.

Pay as you go

When you use pay as you go, you only pay for your journeys as you travel.

It also means you can travel all over our network at any time, secure in the knowledge that you have a valid ticket.

If you make many journeys in a day, the cost of your travel is automatically capped.

See if you could save money by using pay as you go.

Pay as you go may not be best value if you:

  • Are eligible for free or discounted travel, or
  • Make at least three journeys every weekday, or
  • Travel at least 6 days a week
Contactless payment symbol

Contactless or Oyster?

Contactless payment cards are issued by banks and credit card providers - you may have one already, so check your wallet or purse. If so, start using it - you don't need to register or add money to it before you travel.

If you use contactless and travel a lot in a week ending on a Sunday, the cost of your weekly travel can be capped.

Alternatively, you can get an Oyster card to pay as you go. They are available online, from stations and Visitor Centres. You must add money to an Oyster card before using it.

Day tickets

Pay as you go with daily capping is cheaper than using a Day Travelcard in Zones 1-9 or a One Day Bus & Tram Pass.

Only here for a short visit?

Pay as you go is the best option if you already have a contactless payment or Oyster card.

If you don't have either of these, get an Oyster card which you can use whenever you visit London.

Flexible and part-time travel

If you work part time or have unpredictable working patterns you should use pay as you go.

Did you know?

You could save money by touching your contactless or Oyster card on a pink card reader when changing trains at some Tube and London Overground stations, particularly if your route does not include travel through Zone 1. Find out more


We do not offer family tickets. Free and discounted travel is available for children, depending on their age and where they travel.

Visitor tickets

If you're visiting London you can buy a Visitor Oyster card in advance and use it to pay as you go.

When are season tickets best value?

Travelcard and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets used to offer best value if you made a return journey every day. However, for many this is no longer true - if you only make a return journey five days a week or less, a 7 Day Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass will be more expensive than two pay as you go journeys per day.

We charge more at busy times. If you only travel during off-peak periods, pay as you go is usually better value because Travelcards are priced to include travel during peak hours.

So season tickets will only provide best value if you:

  • Make at least three journeys a day or travel at least 6 days a week


  • Mainly travel during peak hours

For detailed information on fares, please see our fares tables, or single fare finder.

Using contactless or an Oyster card

It's really easy. Touch your contactless or Oyster card on a yellow card reader to start your rail journey and use the same card to touch out again at the end. You must always do this so we know where you've travelled. We'll do the rest and charge the right fare for your journey.

You only need to touch in at the start of your journey on buses and trams.

It's important that you only touch one card on the reader at a time, so we know which card to charge.

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